Niles called Izzy.
“Hi, Izzy, this is Chief Quinn.”
“What can I do for you, Chief?”
“First of all, Izzy,” Niles said, “I take no offense, nor hold a grudge about the article you wrote. It was 100 percent true and accurate. It’s your job. However, Quinn has two Ns.”
Izzy forced a laugh.
“Do you know about the town council meeting with me tonight in emergency session?” Niles said.
“No,” Izzy said, “I’m not aware and I just talked to the mayor ten minutes ago. He should have told me.”
“I want you there, Izzy,” Niles said.
“Why do I get the feeling you are orchestrating this whole thing,” Izzy said.
“You give me far too much credit,” Niles said. “The meeting is at 7:00. See you there.”
“See you there,” Izzy said.
Niles walked into the council chambers at 6:55 PM. The four council member was already seated at the table with Lute in the middle.
“I’m early,” Niles said.
“We’ll wait till seven,” Lute said.
“Is this an open meeting?” Niles said.
“Yes,” Lute said, “but given the urgency of the situation, we didn’t have time to inform the public, but it is open to the public.”
“Is it possible to postpone the meeting until the public can be notified?” Niles said.
“Like I said,” Lute said, “given the urgency.”
“Can we make that a motion?” Niles said.
“We can’t make a motion until the meeting is called to order,” Lute said.
“It would appear to anyone that a meeting has already started,” Niles said.
“Our rules are specific,” Lute said. “the meeting has to start at 7:00, the announced time.”
“I thought since this is an emergency, can’t we declare an emergency and start a few minutes early?” Niles said.
“I think you’re purposely trying to be argumentative,” Bogy, the grocer said.
“Not so, Bogy,” Niles said. “I’m not even certain this is an emergency.”
Doris, the librarian cleared her throat. “I think we are in the best position to determine if this is an emergency or not.”
“I don’t even know what this is about,” Niles said.
“I think you are being coy,” Lute said, “and trying to stall.”
The sound of footsteps coming up the wooden steps echoed in the hallway.
Niles leaned his head toward the doorway. “You’re right, I’m stalling. I didn’t want anything to start until the press got here.”
“This is a closed meeting,” Slim said. “Who invited her?”
“I did,” Niles said, “and I am certain Lute said this was an emergency public meeting.”
Izzy sat in the chair beside Niles.
“Thanks for coming,” Niles whispered.
“We would prefer a venue in which we can speak freely,” Lute said.
“Yeah,” Niles said, “freedom of speech and press; the foundation of our great democracy.”
Lute and the council exchanged confused glances.
Niles cleared his throat and pointed at the clock on the wall. “It’s time.”
Lute glared at Niles and slammed the gavel. “This emergency meeting of the Brewster Harbor town council is called to order, Mayor Lute Cramer presiding. Chair recognizes all present.”
“Chief Quinn could you pull up a chair in front of the table,” Lute said.
“This chair is fine,” Niles said.
“Let’s get to the point,” Lute said. “All of us read the newspaper account and we find it very disturbing to the community. All of us have had a bombardment of phone calls expressing outrage about your comments. Do you wish to clarify any portion of the article.”
“No,” Niles said, “Izzy reported it just as I said it.”
“This is outrageous,” Doris the librarian said.
“Isn’t she out of order,” Niles said. “Doesn’t the chair have to recognize her before she can speak.”
“We don’t stand on formality to the T,” Lute said.
“Only when it’s convenient, right?” Niles said.
“If I may characterize the comments we have shared with each other in private,” Lute said. “We had a recent murder of a beloved city employee, Mildred Carmichael, yet you seem intent on focusing on a two-year-old case.”
“My department meets once a week or whenever needed to review all evidence of the Carmichael case,” Niles said.
“You are investigating a murder outside your jurisdiction,” Bogy said. “Sam Petit’s murder was handled by the state.”
“I recently filed a notice to change the jurisdiction, based on evidence I’ve uncovered,” Niles said. “I’ve been informed by the state’s attorney’s general office that because there was no evidence that remotely suggests where Petit was murdered the jurisdiction is up for grabs. So I grabbed it.”
“Without evidence,” Zelda, the round lady snorted. “Where’s the evidence?”
“Evidence is confidential while under investigation,” Niles said, “but I know who killed Sam Petit and how Sam Petit was killed.”
Collective jaws of the town council dropped. Lute glared stoically at each of them.
“I don’t care,” Slim said, “we came here for one reason and one reason only and that was to ask you for your resignation.”
“My contract is for three years,” Niles said. “I’m not insubordinate, I haven’t been derelict in my duties, I haven’t missed a day’s work, and I’ve committed no felonies. By the time you get this to the point of firing me you’ll all be voted out of office.”
The room fell silent except for the sound of wind passing by the windows and couple of uncomfortable squeaks from the chairs.
“You think you’re pretty smart don’t you,” Bogy said. “You got the whole community upset. There’s a great feeling of distrust. It will drive away tourist.”
“I have you upset, Bogy,” Niles said. “the people know. They know I’m fair and can be trusted. If you fire me, I’ll open a grocery and bankrupt you in 90 days. People don’t like you, Bogy.”
“Let’s adjourn this meeting,” Lute said.
No one said a word, they each lifted one hand off the table to signify agreement. Lute slammed the gavel.
Niles leaned over to Izzy, “Not a bad meeting, eh.”